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Recently, my student raised the following concern: She worked on project A, and she is the first author for a publication based on the previous paper from the second author. Now, this second author wants to include project A, and also some other results by themselves, to submit an abstract to a conference.

My student seems not happy with this, but assuming the student did not attend the conference, I did not see too many issues. I would see this as a good thing that someone helps to promote my student's work.

Am I missing something important here? The only potential issue I could think of is if my student also wants to attend the same conference and she also wants to present the project?

P.S. the paper is still using the same author list, my student is still the first author.

P.S2 My student already presented the project in a local conference and an international conference. I told my student if you feel uncomfortable, you can just say no.

Update: it turns out that my student misunderstood that student B wants to combine my student's work and her works into a single manuscript, which is of course also not acceptable for me. My student did not tell me her decision yet, but I am fine with both 'yes' or 'no',

RE: the reason of student B wants to include the works from A is that their projects are related, one is a theory development and one is an empirical work to validate the theory.

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    "The paper is still using the same author list, my student is still the first author. " I am not sure about the conventions in your field/country, but usually the first author is expected to be the presenting author. Are you by any chance the second author?
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Mar 12 at 10:36
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    The natural person to ask this "why"-question would be your student. Commented Mar 12 at 12:40
  • @EarlGrey No, second author is another PhD student. Commented Mar 13 at 4:30

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The student probably feels like their work is being stolen. At least in my field, it would be inappropriate to repeatedly present the same work at conferences so it's not just this conference but any conference.

"Credit", whatever that is worth, tends to go to wherever you heard something first. Letting someone else get the first shot at presenting their work means they can't be the one to get that credit anymore.

If this is your student, it's your job to help them get opportunities to present their work. Don't just wait for her to suggest submitting to a conference, encourage her to present at specific conferences that you know will be valuable to their career. Fund her travel so she can go present. Be a mentor.

If the work is already published, then the other author can freely cite it and present results from it that way if it's necessary to build on for their other work, just like anyone else could, but they shouldn't present it as if it's their own individual work.


The post has since been edited to mention that this work has already been presented at a conference by the student. In that case, why is the other coauthor presenting it again? They should present what they have that is new. Any presentation of new information will of course include references to previous work that it builds on, but that's not the same as including it as if it's part of the work and does not require any permission, only attribution. The student can't say "no" to someone else citing her work. She definitely can, and should, say no to someone re-presenting her work as if it's new work of their own.

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    In math, at least, it's very common to present on the same work several times as long as the audience for each presentation doesn't have much overlap. Provided, of course, that one isn't submitting the same work for peer-reviewed conference proceedings over and over. Sounds very subject dependent.
    – user176372
    Commented Mar 12 at 15:15
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    @user176372 Yeah, there's a bit more nuance in my field, too, where presenting at e.g. a local conference or seminar or similar is likely not really considered "presenting"; it's even common to have local conferences especially for students where it is assumed that all the presentations will be work already presented at another conference. And in-progress work at various stages can be welcome. But the major conferences expect that work that is presented is in some way novel.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 12 at 15:18

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